Amherst’s Districting Advisory Board Seeks Public Feedback On New Precinct Maps

One of two draft precinct maps proposed by the Districting Advisory Board. (links to both draft maps in article). Photo: amherstma.gov

Source: Districting Advisory Board

Amherst’s Districting Advisory Board (DAB) has been meeting weekly since August to develop recommendations for redrawing the current voting precincts and district boundary lines based on the 2020 US Census data. The DAB is seeking public feedback on two draft precinct and district maps that it has prepareds.

The two drafts represent possible reconfigurations of voting precincts and districts in Amherst based on population shifts as well as state and local requirements. The board’s deadline for submitting a map to the Town Council is October 13. The Council will need to vote to approve it and submit the approved version to the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth and the Local Election District Review Commission (LEDRC) by the end of October.

The final map must meet certain requirements. Under state law, no precinct can have a population of 4,000 or more persons; under Amherst’s home rule charter voting districts, (which consist of two precincts each), “to the extent possible, cluster together centers of common interest or neighborhoods, considering, but not limited to, places where people live, congregate, recreate, worship, shop, and learn.”

The draft maps, available census data, interactive mapping tools, and related materials can be accessed from the DAB committee webpage, and in the DAB weekly meeting packets  The first draft map is available here and the second draft map here. (see also below). The current precinct and district map is available here for comparison (note: polling places have since changed for precincts 2, 4, and 10).

To provide feedback on the draft maps, email townclerk@amherstma.gov (with the subject line: DAB). The weekly DAB meetings include public comment periods and residents are welcome to offer feedback at that time. The next DAB meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 21, at 5:30 p.m.  A Zoom link is here:  https://amherstma.zoom.us/j/84662226880

The DAB looks forward to hearing from the community to help create a useful and complete precinct and districting map for elections.

Vacancies On The DAB
The DAB currently has two vacancies that can be filled by residents of District 2, 4, or 5. The vacancies cannot both be filled with residents from the same district. Anyone interested in joining the DAB should apply to the Town Council’s Governance, Organization, and Legislation (GOL) Committee asap. The application form is available here.  The current members of the DAB are:

 Irene DujovneDISTRICT 1
Mahek Ghelani1
Marilyn Blaustein2
Joseph Gordon3
Craig Meadows4
Tracy Zafian3
Peggy Shannon5
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